LA PAZ – Don Quixote rode again to adventure on Monday during a public reading of Miguel de Cervantes’s masterpiece on World Book Day at the Spanish Cultural Center in La Paz, a city where the author once sought to be posted as a colonial official.
“This has a special meaning here in Bolivia, because Miguel de Cervantes wanted to be commissioned when he asked to be appointed as chief magistrate in La Paz,” Spanish Ambassador to Bolivia Enrique Ojeda told EFE.
The Spanish envoy began the reading with the famous phrase: “Somewhere in La Mancha, in a place whose name I do not care to remember, a gentleman lived not long ago, one of those who has a lance and ancient shield on a shelf and keeps a skinny nag and a greyhound for racing.”
“We have been able to listen to all those accents that are part of the richness and diversity of the Spanish language today,” Ojeda said.
“Don Quixote” is taught in Bolivian schools despite “the difficulty students can have dealing with the classical Castillian language, but once they overcome that barrier, all of them, the kids, the teachers and parents who read with them, are all fascinated,” the ambassador said.
This fifth reading of “Don Quixote” in La Paz is part of the annual activities sponsored by the Fine Arts Circle in Madrid, where Cervantes has been honored for more than 20 years with a marathon public reading of his book.
World Book Day was created by UNESCO to commemorate the deaths in 1616 of Cervantes, William Shakespeare and chronicler Inca Garcilaso de la Vega.